Everybody who watches a realistic high school movie can identify with the characters and situations that are portrayed. Superbad is a rare breed of high school movie in that it’s incredibly real in showing what a high school senior goes through in discussing sex, friendship and moving on but it does that with an incredibly retro flavor. Fans of films like Dazed and Confused or television shows like Freaks and Geeks will feel right at home watching Superbad.
Evan (Michael Cera) and Seth (Jonah Hill) are graduating seniors and best friends, who will have to say goodbye for the first time ever when they get accepted to different schools. On a typical night they get the great idea to get alcohol for two girls that they like, using their friend’s fake ID. What happens is an odd series of events where the two bond and reflect on their friendship. On the flip side their friend Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) gets caught up with two bumbling cops played by Bill Hader and Seth Rogen who take him out for a crazy night on the town.
I mentioned before that Superbad is very reminiscent of Dazed and Confused and that is definitely in its tone. The film starts with a credit sequence that looks like its straight out of a 70’s film and aside from the characters using cell phones once it doesn’t immediately scream that it’s set in present day. I did enjoy this since it shows that high-schoolers in movies really haven’t changed. The film is also incredibly realistic, there are parts in the movie that will make you wince and laugh since you either went through that scenario or had a friend go through that in high school. The movie is also incredibly raunchy in its humor but for every nasty joke there is a smart joke. Easily the first hour is nothing but joke after joke to the point where you’ll have to see the movie twice to hear the jokes you missed over the laughter.
Superbad isn’t for everyone, since it is R-rated, so there is a lot of foul language and explicit sexual discussion so if that doesn’t sound like your cup of tea avoid the film. Other than that the film does tend to drag in the second and final acts when the two friends get overly sentimental or angry at each other. It also lags in the humor department when the resolution of the film happens. While the two cop characters are hilarious they do tend to take a front seat towards the end of the film, which isn’t the best when it comes to supporting characters. It was also sad to see that the female characters had very little depth to them, but that’s to be expected from a film like this.
Acting wise is what makes Superbad great, you need to have a great duo to make Seth and Evan such enduring characters. Michael Cera and Jonah Hill are spot-on as the two friends, Cera being the straight man to Hill’s wackiness. These two have usually been regulated to sidekicks in past efforts and they were able to move to leading men superbly. Bill Hader and Seth Rogen were also great as the cops Slater and Michaels respectively. While they were pretty shallow in terms of character development they had great chemistry. The introduction of Christopher Mintz-Plasse as the Fogell (or McLovin’) was hilarious. He was able to play off the characters well and did great in his first big-screen role.
Superbad is easily a teenage successor to The 40-Year-Old Virgin and is a hilarious summer comedy. While the jokes aren’t for everyone, anybody who has endured the four years of high school will fall in love with the trials and tribulations of Evan and Seth.